Monday, 7 May 2012

State Department's Gordon on US-European Cooperation

Assistant Secretary of State Phillip Gordon gave an interesting speech in Berlin last week on US Global Cooperation with Europe. He outlined the reasons why Europe is still very important for the US. Of course, the most interesting thing was that the speech needed to be given at all. Europe is nervous at the Pacific shift that the US is undertaking, and it seems that European allies are constantly seeking reassurance that the US won't be abandoning them.

Gordon said that:
More than ever we see Europe as our partner of first resort when it comes to managing a very challenging world. That was the philosophy that we brought with us, we the Obama administration, to office. It’s the philosophy that the then-candidate Obama spelled out not very far from here during the election campaign, and it’s just based on a very simple premise which is that unless you believe the United States alone can manage this very challenging world, you have to look for strong partners that have resources and share your values and interests, and those are more than anywhere to be found in Europe and the European Union.
This view of Europe as an ally in US strategy to the rest of the world, rather than Europe as a part of the world that has to be defended, accords with current strategic reality. But NATO Monitor is not convinced that it is the basis for a continuation of the tight relationship inside NATO that has existed since 1949. While there may be a coincidence of interests between the US and Europeans in some pats of the world on some occasions, more often there are differences, both economic and political; as well as differences of approach to problems.

Afghanistan is just one area where Europe and the US have, at least after ten years of war, very different interests and problems to confront, and Gordon acknowledged that at least in part while appealing for continued alliance solidarity.

The speech is also interesting on smart defence - of which more in a later post - and partnerships. Well worth reading.

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